This post is about my painting Penthesilea. Kurdistan, which is part of Xénai, a series about extraneity and the possibility to find affinities in it.

Penthesilea. Kurdistan, oil on canvas 50×30, 2016

Penthesilea was in Greek mithology the Queen of the Amazones, leader of a women’s army, which she eventually led to the Trojan War in an attempt to help King Priamos fighting back the Greeks. Still following the ancient myths, there she got killed by a weirdly enamoured Achilles, a death that led to several different versions of the story (included a necrophil ending) as you can read here. Several ancient texts related to Penthesilea are at this link.

In 1808 Heinrich von Kleist wrote Penthesilea, a very dicussed play which among other things turns over the events, letting Penthesilea fall in love with Achilles, though finally kill him. On the little paper strip glued onto the canvas, as for Kassandra, I put her first words in the play: “Nichts vom Triumph mir! Nichts vom Rosenfeste!”, that means (more or less) “None of Triumph to me! None of Roses’ Feasts!”, the Roses’ Feast being meant for winning a man in fight. Goehte rejected Kleist’s play as “unplayable”: well, I suggest you to read it, anyway.

As for the reference in the painting’s title, I think I do not have to say much about Kurdish female fighters being in many different perspectives a sort of modern Amazones. My painting shall be dedicated to every of them.


Roberta Cortese, Penthesilea vs. Achilles, 2nd price at Premio Fersen 2007, Editoria&Spettacolo Napoli, 2008.
Homer, Iliad.
Heinrich von Kleist, Penthesilea, 1808.